Can Coffee Actually Help Your Mental Health?

By Emily Ennis — / Lifestyle

Everything You Need to Know About Coffee and Mental Health

Life is hard. Getting through it without your favorite drink would be even worse. Lucky for you, not only does coffee satisfy your tastebuds, coffee also has a positive effect on your mental health. When everything else seems to be falling apart, it is the one thing that can hold everything together. Coffee not only has functional benefits like helping you get your ass in gear in the morning, it can also make you feel better inside and out. You might be wondering how the hell one (or two or three) cups of joe can help accomplish so much more than just waking you up. Just keep pouring your cup and read on.  

A bag of dark and medium roast next to a mug of coffee and a Kettle.

What is Mental Health? 

Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological and social well-being. It can affect the way we think, feel and even act. It’s important to note that mental health affects us all differently. Everyone goes through some hard times once in a while. We all need a mental health break at some point, and that’s okayall the more reason to add a little coffee to help you along! 

Coffee Can Help Reduce Depression

Crazy, right? How can something so delicious also help with depression? It seems like a dream, but don’t pinch yourself—it’s a reality!  

  1. Coffee reduces oxidation. People who are experiencing depression have higher levels of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Oxidative stress contributes to aging and plays a role in the development of different health conditions, including heart disease. The best way to combat this stress is with antioxidants, which coffee is packed full of. In fact, coffee is the leading source of antioxidants in Americans’ diets. This helps you boost your immunity in the short term, but it may also play a role in lowering the risk of cancer and other diseases. 
  2. Caffeine blocks mood-depressing chemicals. Caffeine binds to “adenosine” receptors (aka what usually signals sleepiness and depressive mood) and blocks these adenosine receptors in the brain. In other words, it doesn’t allow your brain to feel sleepy or depressed. So, thank goodness coffee has a hell of a lot of caffeine. That means your mood doesn’t have to be as dark as your coffee. 
  3. Coffee’s impact on gut health promotes mental health. In random trials, probiotics decreased depression. Coffee itself has prebiotics; these prebiotics also play a role in gut health. They feed the microorganisms that promote gut health, boosting the formation of fatty acids and neurotransmitters that give mental health benefits. So, gut health and everyone’s morning coffee bathroom ritual will help boost your mood.

All this is cool, but without getting all science-y, coffee also does more than you might even realize.  

Coffee Can Boost Your Memory and Performance

It’s simple really. Human memory sucks. It’s complicated and unreliable. More often than not, even the things we think we remember have gotten twisted along the way. Drinking one single cup of coffee has been proven to help your memory. 

Coffee also helps burn fat while exercising, aiding in weight loss and an endorphin boost. Coffee happens to be one of the most popular pre-workout drinks since it's a natural source of caffeine that contains antioxidants and nutrients. It’s also super tasty and low in cost, which creates the perfect beverage to enhance your exercise performance. 

Coffee Increases Social Interaction

With never-ending busy schedules, it becomes really hard to stay in touch with friends. After a long day of work, we’re ready to swap our button down for a big sweatshirt, sweatpants, throw our hair into a bun, dive into an episode of “Schitt’s Creek” and call it a night. Plans after work? What’s that? Coffee gives us the perfect excuse to throw in some much-needed friend time. So grab that favorite brew and your favorite friend (maybe your fur baby too) to walk the park or sit for a while—coffee is great for a catch-up session no matter where you are. The best part? You won’t be waking up hungover after a get-together for some drinks at the bar! 

Coffee is the best of the best—it can wake you up and boost that mental health. So don’t be shy about grabbing a second (or third) cup of joe. Your mind and body will thank you!  

RELATED: What Does Caffeine Do To Your Brain?

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